EWH is wishing a fond farewell to Victoria Pace, who has served the organization in several capacities since 2017. If you’re an EWH Chapter member, went abroad on one of our Summer Institutes, or purchased an EWH Kit, you’ve probably had the pleasure of interacting with Victoria at least once!
In this interview, Victoria reflects on her time at EWH with Manager of Communications and Development, Rachel Goforth.
Rachel: Victoria! We are all so sad to see you go, but excited for your next adventure. I’m so happy to have had the pleasure of working with and learning from you during the last year - you are truly an EWH expert. What drew you to this organization in the first place, 5 years ago?
Victoria: I was working in university admissions, which I loved, but I was looking for something with more of an international focus, since my educational background is in international studies. A wonderful mentor from my time in undergrad sent me a job ad from EWH. I was immediately interested- just from briefly reading about the organization, I was so impressed with the work. It struck me as unique and very impactful, plus the job description fit in with my skills and background, so it felt like the perfect opportunity.
Rachel: You’ve done so much in your time here - Chapters, Kits, Summer Institutes, really a little bit of everything! What has been your favorite project to work on? Where do you feel like you’ve had the most impact?
Victoria: It’s so hard to just pick one project! I feel very lucky that so many aspects of my work at EWH were fulfilling and inspiring. But, in the spirit of following instructions- I think writing the Summer Institute Final Reports was my favorite thing to do. It felt like the culmination of a year’s work; I was able to read our participant’s reflections from their time on the program, hear from the our on the ground partners how our work impacted the hospital and community, plus see the data of the repairs made. It’s nice to have something objective to look at and see you’ve made a difference. Plus, usually Chapters and Kits tied into these programs in some way, so it was a good activity to see all that we do come together.
For my own impact, I think I’ve had the most impact with Chapters. I really enjoy working with university students, so I was drawn to this program. I wanted to ensure that we had the resources for students to make their EWH Chapter into whatever they wanted it to be. That looks different for a lot of universities, so it was important that EWH be ready to provide customized support to each Chapter. It was very exciting to see this program grow and all that students are able to accomplish without leaving their campus.
Rachel: You bring so much energy and enthusiasm (and organization and structure!) to everything you do. You’re leaving us with so much - but can I ask, what is something you’ll be taking away with you from your time with EWH?
Victoria: EWH has taught me so much! One of the most significant things I’ve learned is a trust and respect for everyone you work with. I think it’s easy to come to a nonprofit and think “ok, I’m giving the aid here, so I know what’s best, and this is how it should be,” but that’s almost never the case. It’s so important to listen and come up with solutions that fit for each specific situation - not just doing something because it’s how you’re used to doing things. Before EWH I think it was easy to fall into an “I know best” mentality, but now I know there’s always something for me to learn, even when I think I’m an expert.
Also, EWH has really taught me to keep a level head! It’s a small organization that accomplishes so much, so there can be a lot of plates spinning at once. It takes a lot of knowledge, good partners, and teamwork, but no matter how large the task, we always got it done well.
Rachel: Finally, what’s next for you?
Victoria: I’m leaving to focus on some entrepreneurial ventures- probably the only thing that could have ever gotten me away from EWH! I’ll be working on a concrete polishing supply business- very different sector, but something I have some experience in. I’ll still be keeping up with all things EWH though. This organization is so important to me and I’m so grateful for the time I spent here and everyone I worked with. I’ll miss being able to work with the students and our partners, but I’m so excited to see everything EWH continues to accomplish. A huge THANK YOU to everyone I’ve encountered during my time here- you are a huge part of what made this work so enjoyable! I feel very lucky to have found a place that makes leaving so hard.